Berlin's southeastern district of Treptow is an odd mix of wealth and the leisure pursuits it can buy, and the less appealing industrial side of the city.
In the Treptow district you'll find the very industrialized Landwehr Canal, but you'll also find lovely sylvan parks along the banks of the River Spree.
One of the best of these parks, 570-acre/230-hectare Treptower Park, extends north along the plantain tree-lined Puschkinalle.
The Treptower Park, Berlin's 3rd largest, was established in 1876 complete with beer gardens and public boating facilities.
In 1909 one of the park's buildings was converted into the Archenhold Observatory, Germany's largest and the place where Albert Einstein changed the scientific view of the world by presenting his first lecture on the theory of relativity in 1915!
At the neighboring planetarium is the world's longest refractor telescope, at 69 feet (21 m).
It's virtually impossible to miss the Park's best-known attraction, the Soviet Memorial. Covering the full 25 acre/10 hectares of a former playing field, it has arched entrances at Puschkinallee and Am Treptower Park.
Follow the birch-shaded promenade, passing between the pair of red granite flags to a raised area and the cemetery containing the bodies of more than seven thousand Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.
There are also sixteen limestone sarcophagi carved with scenes of Soviet battles. At the heart of the Memorial is a mausoleum containing the remains of another two hundred Soviet soldiers.
The Memorial's crowning glory, atop the mausoleum, is the bronze sculpture of a Soviet soldier, crashed swastika beneath his feet, comforting a German child.
Don't miss the Spreepark, an abandoned GDR-era amusement park now deteriorating behind an iron fence. Should you choose to trespass there, you'll step into a world of broken dinosaurs, a collapsing roller coaster track, a teacup ride which will never spin again, and the empty cars of the "Ferris Wheel of Berlin" rocking eerily above you! ;-)
To recover from all that somberness, visit the Park's Rosarium, with more than 25,000 (!) rose bushes and a refreshing fountain await! Or arrange a boat trip along the River Spree to the Müggelsee, Berlin's largest lake. Finish your day with a plate of grilled wurst enjoyed with a cold beer on the lakeside terrace of the Rübezahl restaurant!
Treptower Park is open from 2:00 to 6:30 pm. Guided tours are available on Thursdays at 8:00 and Saturdays at 3:00.
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